Manuel Neuer (c.) may remain the undoubted first choice at Bayern Munich, but Sven Ulreich (l.) and Alexander Nübel (r.) are just two who figure to give him competition next season. - © DFL
Manuel Neuer (c.) may remain the undoubted first choice at Bayern Munich, but Sven Ulreich (l.) and Alexander Nübel (r.) are just two who figure to give him competition next season. - © DFL

Manuel Neuer's competition to be Bayern Munich's No.1 next season: Alexander Nübel, Sven Ulreich et al

Manuel Neuer could well be the greatest goalkeeper ever to have pulled on a pair of gloves, but who are the runners and riders looking to compete for the Bayern Munich captain's No.1 spot next season?

With seven Bundesliga titles and a FIFA World Cup to his name, Bayern captain Neuer is the most decorated goalkeeper in the Bundesliga and, having all but invented the sweeper-keeper position, perhaps the greatest of all time.

Bayern have nonetheless acquired Alexander Nübel from Schalke for next season. Nübel will want to compete for a starting spot, but there's a queue at the Allianz Arena, with Sven Ulreich, Christian Früchtl and Ron-Thorben Hoffmann also providing incredible strength in depth.

Iron sharpens iron - there may only be one spot up for grabs but Neuer, Hoffmann and Ulreich (l-r.) training alongside each other can only be a good thing for Bayern. - imago images takes a closer look at the champions' goalkeeping options…

Manuel Neuer
Age: 34
Bundesliga games: 397
Clean sheets: 190

At 34, Neuer will be heading into his 10th season with Bayern in 2020/21. Part of the continental treble-winning vintage of 2013, the Schalke academy graduate has won the Bundesliga in each of the last seven seasons, lifting the Meisterschale as captain for the previous two after succeeding Philipp Lahm in the role for club and country in 2017.

Back-to-back fractured metatarsal's interrupted Neuer's progress in 2017/18, meaning he only played three games in the entire campaign, but he looks to be back to his best now, and shows little sign of slowing down despite the fact he turns 35 in March. Neuer has made 63 saves this term, kept 10 clean sheets, and if Bayern are four points clear, he is a large part of the reason why.

Watch: Neuer's Top 5 Saves

Alexander Nübel
Age: 23
Bundesliga games: 40
Clean sheets: 13

Nübel has been secured on a free transfer from Schalke, and will swap Gelsenkirchen for Bavaria - like Neuer did nine years earlier - this summer. Previously the first-choice Germany U21 keeper, Nübel kept six clean sheets in 17 games at that level before his age prohibited him from featuring any longer.

Turning 23 was no hindrance to Nübel at club level, though. A month before that birthday - at the start of this season - the Paderborn-born keeper was made Schalke captain by their new coach, David Wagner. Although he passed the armband to Omar Mascarell on signing for Bayern, and started sharing playing time with Markus Schubert, Nübel's numbers stack up.

With 66 saves and six clean sheets he is on Neuer's coat-tails despite playing for a weaker team, and will offer some strong competition next term.

Watch: Another Bayern goalkeeping legend, Oliver Kahn, analyses Nübel's game

Sven Ulreich
Age: 31
Bundesliga games: 220
Clean sheets: 52

"Bayern is a meritocracy in which sporting decisions are made. Let's see who ends up sitting behind Manuel Neuer on the bench," so said Ulreich's agent, Jürgen Schwab, speaking to German sports daily Kicker.

The faith in Ulreich is well-founded. In that 17/18 season, the former Stuttgart stopper deputised for the world's best with quite some aplomb. He had 12 shut-outs in the Bundesliga - and 17 in all competitions - as Bayern secured the title some 21 points clear of second-placed Schalke.

Ulreich had a "mini black-out" in the second leg of Bayern's UEFA Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid, gifting Karim Benzema a goal that put the tie beyond reach, but there were more highs than lows, such as his incredible shut-out against his former employers in December 2017.

Watch: Ulreich's star-turn against former club Stuttgart

Christian Früchtl
Age: 20
Bundesliga games: 0
Clean sheets: 0

Früchtl may be less of a household name than any of the above, but the youngster is regarded as one of the most promising young players in Germany and perhaps beyond. Already 6'2" by the age of 15, the Germany U20 goalkeeper now stands at a hulking 6'4", but that doesn't impinge on his athleticism.

Bayern II's first choice, Früchtl kept five clean sheets in 26 games before the coronavirus-enforced break in play. While he might have designs on filling Neuer's boots, he certainly can't borrow them.

"I can't loan him my shoes," the not-quite-as-big man joked to in 2016. "I think I was about half a head shorter than him at his age."

Christian Früchtl (l.) is already taller than Neuer (r.) and has made the Bayern II starting spot his own. - Getty Images

Ron-Thorben Hoffmann
Age: 21
Bundesliga games: 0
Clean sheets: 0

Not many clubs in the game can say that a former Germany U18 goalkeeper with the Hertha Berlin and RB Leipzig youth academies on their resume is their fifth-choice, but Bayern's size and scale is such that Hoffmann find himself in exactly that spot having just turned 21.

Rostock-born Hoffmann has stopped opponents from scoring 31 times in the Bayern academy ranks. A loan might be his logical next step - any of the aforementioned might be relieved at the lightened competition for places.

Hoffman (r.) has played just once in the 3. Liga this season but has a wealth of youth team experience with Bayern. - Getty Images - Getty Images